“‘We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.’”
— Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge
That’s a plea from Britain’s Prince William in comments to the BBC Thursday. The Duke of Cambridge, as he’s officially known, voiced his disapproval of the high-priced space pursuits just a day after former Star Trek actor William Shatner became the oldest man to fly to space, in a rocket built by Amazon
founder Jeff Bezos.
Bezos, via his own Blue Origin space tourism company, and a small crew of fellow civilians, briefly traveled to over 62 miles above the planet during a July flight. Billionaires Elon Musk
and Richard Branson are also pumping resources into their own space ambitions.
Prince William was speaking about climate change ahead of his inaugural Earthshot environmental prize awards ceremony on Sunday and in the run-up to the Glasgow-hosted U.N. climate summit in early November.
The pivotal meeting, also known as COP26, calls for the over 190 U.N.-member countries to submit more ambitious emissions reductions targets for 2030 that are meant to help the world reach “net zero” by midcentury, to raise contributions to climate adaptation for poorer countries and to firm up rules set at the Paris climate agreement made in 2015, which called for holding global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius and ideally no more than 1.5 degrees.
Prince William said it would be an “absolute disaster” if his oldest son, George, who he said is “acutely aware” of how resources impact the planet, had to raise the same issues about climate change 30 years from now.
“Young people now are growing up where their futures are basically threatened the whole time,” he said. “It’s very unnerving and it’s very you know, anxiety-making.”